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Illegal miners block road over health fears

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The dirt road was a contributing factor to respiratory problems among the illegal miners.

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CONCERN for their health yesterday saw dozens of illegal miners refusing to allow Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture (KEM-JV) vehicles to access a dirt road running on the outskirts of their informal settlement, adjacent to the Samaria Road, despite efforts by mine security to clear the path.

With issues between the illegal miners and the mining company over mineral and property rights still unresolved, yesterday saw yet another standoff when security attempted to reopen the road that was barricaded by the illegal workers two months ago.

According to a representative of the illegal miners, Tebogo Taku, the road was blockaded with rocks partly in protest after a clash between the miners and mine security.

Last week saw trespassing charges, stemming from the violent clash, against Taku and chairperson of the Kimberley Artisanal Mineworkers (KAMW), Lucky Seekoei, scrapped from the roll in the Kimberley Magistrates’ Court.

However, Taku yesterday confirmed that the matter was still far from resolved, adding that the dirt road was a contributing factor to respiratory problems among the illegal miners.

“Trucks use this road 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it fills the air with dust which we are breathing in.”